Old Friends in the Ancient City

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating."  ~ Luciano Pavarotti

I am blessed with friends and family who indulge me in my food chronicling behaviors. Some of them live nearby, some I only get to visit with for precious few hours or days as we swing by one-another's home turf on life's journey.

In this instance it was my friends Alison and Dan from St. Louis, who, on a recent vaca to Florida, parked their deluxe camp-o-rama vehicle at the KOA in St Auggie long enough for us to get caught up on friend time over late breakfast at the Sea Oats Caffe - a sweet little spot in the Anastasia Publix shopping plaza on A1A.

We chose this spot precisely because they claim to have the fluffiest, tastiest buttermilk pancakes on the Island" - but by the time we arrived (10:30 AM) they were already 86ed from the menu for the day!

Although disappointed, Dan, who doesn't eat eggs, settled instead on the Strawberry French Toast (shhh - don't tell him they are drenched in eggs before frying). He seemed satisfied with the outcome, but then I've never heard Dan complain about anything. It certainly looked lovely, with a healthy sprinkling of fresh strawberries.

Alison avoids wheat altogether, so her breakfast choice was a lovely omelette with home fries - which they were also out of, but the nice man behind the counter offered to make her some to order anyway. Score one for excellent customer service.

She asked for some fresh fruit to substitute for toast and the waitress told her they didn't have any - despite the obvious strawberries that go with the french toast, the ubiquitous orange wedge that adorns every plate, AND a lovely bunch of bananas sitting on the counter. 86 that excellent customer service score.

We laughed it off and she chose to try grits instead. Although the grits at the Sea Oats Caffe looked lovely and creamy, she's still not a fan. I ate a pretty decent orange-cranberry muffin and a couple of fried eggs. I'll spare you the pic. Coffee was forgettable and served in one of those stoneware mugs covered in ads for neighboring businesses.

I guess if I was staying nearby I might try this place again, but only for early breakfast before they have a chance to run out of their specialty items. Truth be told, I'd probably just grab a muffin from the counter and head over to the neighboring Starbucks for a Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

Sea Oats Caffe on Urbanspoon
Sea Oats Caffe
(904) 471-7350
1075 A1a Beach Blvd
St Augustine Beach, FL 32080

 A lovely food related surprise in our all day shopping - gabbing - catching up fest was this awesome shop - The Spice & Tea Exchange where they hand-mix spices and seasonings with their own proprietary recipes right there in the store. Alison had just told me about a lovely tea infuser mug  she had purchased on a bike-trek but had subsequently been broken. She was thrilled to find the exact same item in this store - and snapped it up post-haste!

I bought a few things for my holiday food-coma inducing rituals, including a packet of my favorite English Rib Rub - which makes the PERFECT succulent salty-sweet crust on a beef rib roast. Tried it out on chicken and it was great that way too! BTW - the St Augustine store is the original, but they do franchise, so seriously check them out - if you're in a well trafficked area where they haven't established a store yet - go for it! 

The Spice & Tea Exchange
(877) OLD FLA 1 - (904) 826-3770
59 Hypolita Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Just as we were noticing a general grumbling in the tummy area, we turned the corner onto St George Street and beheld a wondrous sign.

Alison and I used to go for lunch together often when I lived in St Louis. In the decade since then (where does the time go?) we've been known to share "virtual lunch" via email, and more recently, facebook. On this occasion, we shared an actual face-to-face lunch - IRL.

Now, for someone who is avoiding wheat and gluten, sandwiches are out of the question, but TACOS and NACHOS can really hit the spot.

Luckily for us - these weren't just any tacos or nachos...
The Burrito Works Taco Shop serves up freshly prepared tacos, nachos, burritos and more. There's even a concoction they call "Ninja Nic's Mexicake" but we were not that adventurous. Prices are reasonable and the service is fast!

Alison settled on Nachos, which she claimed were the best she's ever had.

We all know I can't resist a taco, so I had two! One shrimp, one pork, both Baja style with cabbage, onion, cilantro and lime.

LOVED the baja, and the fillings. Fresh and tasty, cabbage was crisp and the creamy sauce was a great accompaniment. The tortillas were less than stellar - white corn and not steamed or the freshest - but they got the job done.

The decor is college funky and the walls are covered in graffiti - they even hand out sharpies to diners so they can make their presence known.

I passed on that but Alison was happy to find a little spot in the corner to leave her mark. Would I return to the taco shop? Heck yeah! Snack central!

Burrito works Taco shop on Urbanspoon
Burrito Works Taco Shop
(904) 823-1229
114 St George st
St Augustine, FL 32084

Our ultimate destination on this voyage was "The Hyppo" - a charming little shop on Hypolita -( hey, think that's how it got the name?) where the owners are purveying the ultimate in hipster-cool trend-forward dessert items - the humble Paleta.The establishment had been on my Urbanspoon Wishlist for some time, and I was thrilled to share it with my friend from the midwest.

On this Florida fall day (bright sunshine, temps in the high 70s) the treat was a welcome respite. The flavor options on these chilly gourmet goodies range from the basic to the sublime.

Being the hothead that I am, my selection was the Mango-Habanero. Silky smooth and sweet with a spicy back-beat and a touch of peppery heat. It was love at first bite.

Traditionalist Alison opted for the Pumpkin Cheesecake pop - a creamy dream of holiday festivities with just a touch of decadence. She liked it so much she returned the next day with her hubs Dan and enjoyed The Hyppo's fabulous Paletas all over again!

As for me, I'll be back - again, and again, and again.

See you in St Augustine, Beasties!

The Hyppo on Urbanspoon

The Hyppo
(904) 217-7853
15 Hypolita St.
St Augustine, FL 32084


  1. Nancy, thanks for introducing me to my town! A couple of these places have been calling my name, and you've inspired me to hurry up and go.

  2. Thanks Trish - I'm just getting re-acquainted with the Ancient City myself, and there are plenty of places still on my wishlist to check out there! Can't wait to try the new place - The Floridian - I'm hearing excellent things!

  3. Pumpkin Cheesecake sounds yummy. I have tried their coconut, lime, and datil raspberry, but now I am really hoping next time I stop in, they have the pumpkin cheesecake. Our temps lately haven't been lending themselves well to popsicle eating, but I am hopeful that is changing.

  4. Ooohhh.. Datil Raspberry! That'll be my next selection. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Loved the Hyppo! I went with the key lime and loved it!

  6. You mentioned The Floridian... here's my cover of a meal there. :)

    Nice to "meet" another local blogger!


Thank you for your comment. I review comments on posts older than 30 days. I will try to post within 24 - 48 hours.